Have you had a good week? I hope so. I've been in an historical mood myself. I didn't start off that way, it just sort of happened when I came across a couple of local places that I wanted to find out more about. As I looked up one place, another place required investigation until today I feel I have to give you five things to do with the Duke of Wellington.
One - The Duke
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, sometimes known as the Iron Duke was a soldier, statesman, national hero and Prime Minister most famous for defeating Napoleon in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo amongst his many other achievements. He attended Eton for three years, which I visited recently.
Two - Stratfield Saye House
Stratfield Saye was bought for the Duke in 1817 and his family continue to live there to this day. The house was chosen for its location being near London and Windsor. He was going to build a huge new 'Waterloo Palace' to rival Blenheim but didn't carry out the plans as they were too expensive. The grounds are very pleasant, Copenhagen his chestnut stallion retired there and was ridden round the grounds for many years and is also buried there. You can also see an exhibition within which is the enormous carriage made for his funeral. Guided tours, which are very informative, are available during Easter and the Summer only.
Three - Apsley House
Known as Number 1, London, Apsley House was bought by the Duke in 1817 from his older brother Richard who had run into financial difficulties. He enlarged it and turned it into a magnificent residence full of paintings, silver and porcelain. The Waterloo Gallery, an extension to the house, was used for the annual Waterloo Banquets to commemorate the Battle. Wellington received many gifts from Tsars, Emperors and Kings which are on display. At the bottom of the stairs is an 11 foot sculpture of Napoleon posing as Mars, God of War bought by the British Government and presented to the Duke.
Four -Walmer Castle, Kent
The Duke died at Walmer Castle aged 83, where he lived for 23 years as the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. I haven't visited the Castle, but looking at the website, I think I will have to call in if I am nearby.
Five - Wellington Boots or Wellies
Wellington Boots were an invention of the Duke's, adapting a hessian boot of the day. Here's a link with all the info.
My local area has many references to the Duke - street names, the college, memorials, parks, stations etc. due to him having lived at Stratfield Saye. Tomorrow I'll tell you about one of the roads!
Thanks to Amy for the Five on Friday link-up and thanks to you for calling in.